Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Sieg Snapp

Organization: Michigan State University
Country: United States of America
Field(s) of expertise:
I am working on:

Legume integration, soil management, cropping system resilience

Sieg Snapp is Associate Director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations and Professor of Soils and Cropping Systems Ecology at Michigan State University. She investigates sustainable management of soils and food, and supports participatory, engaged learning for impact across the Upper Midwest and Africa. Her research has focused on sustainable intensification processes and principles, including the role of crop diversity, perennial vegetation and integrated nutrient management for more resilient farming.  The book she co-edited on Agricultural Systems is used widely in courses on international farming systems and is about to be released in a second edition (Academic Press). She is delighted to be currently visiting FAO, to prepare a review of resilient legumes for smallholder farmers in Africa, hosted by Dr Catrina Batello and the Agroecology team.

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    • Sieg Snapp

      Michigan State University
      United States of America

      Dear FSN Forum members,

      The perspectives from many parts of the world shared during this discussion has been very informative.

      I found deeply inspiring the experiences from sustained efforts to support pulse value chains, such as from Australia, and the case studies from several sites around the world of nutritional and recipe education, including, among others, from Tanzania, South Africa, Turkey, and Georgia.

      I sincerely hope these efforts continue and that we find ways to continue to learn from each other.

      I believe that interdisciplinary initiatives particularly in the area of agriculture and nutrition education working together are particularly important for a more sustainable future.

      Sieg Snapp

    • Sieg Snapp

      Michigan State University
      United States of America

      It is very encouraging reading the detailed commentary and action plans outlined here for promoting pulses. From Zimbabwe,  Australia and Norway there is clearly tremendous commitment to how we can support greater investment in agricultural education and policies that support growing pulses, and in nutrition education to enhance the demand for pulses. I am interested in any experiences from members of this forum in terms of working with ministries of education, or ministries of nutrition and health, as novel means to support awareness of pulses, nutritional benefits and understanding of the wide range of environmental services that pulses provided.

      As an agriculturists I am very interested to see ideas about expanding the range of pulse varieties so that farmers and consumers have more options. I have worked with some plant breeders who have been committed to releasing many different types of varieties that meet both local and market preferences for taste and other seed traits. This has been been my experience based in work with bean breeders, I have seen much less investment by public research institutions in other pulse breeders, such as pigeonpea breeding as only a few varieties have been released for African smallholder farmers.  Beside bean breeding, which has included participatory approaches, molecular tools and long-term, sustained efforts on seed systems, is there other examples of pulse breeding efforts and agronomy that has expanded pulse production options, and supported widespread adoption? I would really like to see such examples highlighted.

      Another area that requires more attention is agricultural statistics which are rather poor for pulses, including aggregated combinations of different bean species and inaccurate reflection of what is grown on the ground in many countries. How might we support greater attention to documenting legume species and varieties, and consumption, so that we know that agricultural statistics accurately reflect what pulses are grown, and where. 

      I am interested to hear of others experiences with legume statistics or documentation of impact from adoption of growing or eating more pulses

    • Sieg Snapp

      Michigan State University
      United States of America

      Dear all,

      Thank you very much for the comments shared so far and thank you also to all of those who participated in last week’s webinar.

      I would like to take this opportunity to tackle some of the questions that were left unanswered.

      On the question posed by Holly Tripp regarding the gender implications along the pulses value chain, I think that this touches on many different dimensions. Women are often responsible for growing legume crops. Sometimes if a pulse becomes a cash crop men become more involved, but generally, pulses are planted and tended by women, and processed and stored by women. Therefore, women are usually most interested in information about how to grow pulses, and how to process them.

      Unfortunately, on the questions by Jaime Pizarro and Tim Gill on where farmers could best acquire seeds for growing pulses and on who is doing research on pest-resistance, I have no exact answers. Maybe someone in the audience knows more on this and would like to share it with the rest of us? For the time being I’d like to share with you the link to a very good pest management technology resource for cowpea,

      I look forward to your ideas on how to make pulses more appealing to the consumer and the producers.

      Best regards